Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 75
Objectives: A Seeds of Native HealthTM study explored structural/systemic barriers that discourage indigenous scholar participation and community interaction with professional MPH, dietetics and nutrition programs.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews with indigenous scholars, community Elders and non-Native professionals along with an extensive literature review were conducted.
Results: Cultural differences in worldview orientation between disciplinary norms and indigenous communities represents a significant barrier to positive interactions. Professionalized approaches to inquiry and education often conflict with indigenous worldviews. Professional methods and strategies are grounded within implicit cultural values, presuppositions and background assumptions that remain poorly articulated and work to decontextualize and objectify foods, nutrients, risk factors and other health metrics. Educational curricula biased toward abstracted knowledge are not well aligned with the highly contextual and experiential work within indigenous communities to re-establish food sovereignty, re-indiginize food systems and decolonize dietary patterns.
Conclusions: Professional education and research strategies prioritize values of human ascendency, human control over nature and increasingly emphasize a commercial-scientific ethos while historical context, power assymetries and indigenous methodologies emphasizing harmony with nature, connection to place and lived experience tend to be devalued or disregarded. The Seeds of Native Health campaign offers nutrition, dietetics and public health professions the opportunity to bridge these cultural differences in worldview orientations by adjusting the frames through which our attention to food and health relationships is fixed.
Funding Source: This work is supported by the Seeds of Native HealthTM campaign, the University of Minnesota Experiment Station, Project # 18-113 and University of Minnesota Extension.
Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Food & Nutrition
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota